The Republican Party must do better in its effort to cultivate women, says Sandra Mortham, founder of Maggie’s List, a political action committee designed to boost the number of conservative women elected to federal office.
“We have known for years, since 2008, that 54 percent of the actual electorate are women,” the former Florida Secretary of State tells Kathleen Walter of Newsmax TV. “Yet I don’t believe conservatives have done a real good job in understanding that. They have to wake up and smell the roses. If they don’t, we will continue to not do as well as we should.”
Watch the exclusive interview here.
Strong women candidates can win races with a message of less government and fiscal conservatism, Mortham says. “This last cycle, it was a tough cycle for fiscally conservative women,” she says. “But you are going to see Republicans being willing to look at women because certainly Democrat women did extremely well this last cycle. There is absolutely no reason that we shouldn’t have equal, or even better success.”
The GOP needs to change its tone during campaigns to avoid alienating women, Mortham says. “We can’t have candidates out making statements that are just inflammatory. It works against us across the board when that happens. We have to be mindful of the very important group of people that are electing out leaders, and they are women.”
Mortham wishes Mitt Romney had tabbed Condoleezza Rice as his vice presidential candidate. There are possibilities for 2016, she says. “We have some U.S. senators that are real comers. When you look at Kelly Ayotte [of New Hampshire] and others, we have some good opportunities.” And women should keep their eye on the top spot in the White House too, Mortham says.
She lists four female freshmen to watch in the next Congress: Sen.-elect Deb Fischer of Nebraska and Reps.-elect Jackie Walorski of Indiana, Susan Brooks of Indiana, and Ann Wagner of Missouri.
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